Found this outside on patio in northern Virginia, Ashburn area, September 2018. It's about 12 inches. Is it a water snake or rattlesnake?

enter image description here


1 Answer 1


It looks like an Eastern Hognose Snake, which is characterized by an upturned nose and high likelihood of playing dead.

These are described as variable in coloration:

"Two color phases are common in Virginia: (1) a patterned phase (79.6%, n = 98), characterized by a series of 19-27 (average = 23.2 ± 2.4, n = 12) black or dark-brown blotches along middorsal line, with alternating black spots on sides; body color consists of varying combinations of gray, tan, pink, yellow, orange, and red; venter of body and tail immaculate cream to dark gray;"

If you replace the tan in this image (www.virginiaherpetologicalsociety.com) with gray in yours, I think the pattern match and overall body form are very similar:

hognose snake

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Another characteristic of Hognoses is their tendency to flatten their necks in a cobra-like fashion when they feel threatened. This is visible on both the picture in the question, and in the answer. $\endgroup$
    – JAD
    Commented Sep 21, 2018 at 8:49

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